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Let Books on First Be Your Caffeine Den of Choice

While everyone grapples with the implication of legalizing recreational marijuana (e.g., exactly how does one measure a DUI), caffeine ha...

12 July 2017

Happy Birthdate to Some Overachievers!

As a co-worker once said, "Today is not my birthday; my birthday was 51 years ago today," today is the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Henry David Thoreau. Today, he probably would have be considered a weirdo survivalist or slacker environmentalist, but back in the time (1845) when he moved to a cabin (built with his own hands!) and cut all those "trivial" social bonds, aiming to commune with Nature, he was considered a diehard Transcendentalist who needed to "test" the theory that divorce from humanity will lead to enlightenment with which one can then return to humanity.  We are almost positive that his parents did not see this coming when they gazed upon him on his birthday.

Another anniversary of a birthday today is 1/10th the age of Thoreau -- Malala Yousafzai, who turns twenty today.  Her claim to fame came at a great physical cost.  Supported by their parents, a group of Pakistani girls had a minibus take them to school each day.  "Fundamentalists" objecting to the education of females (which is not what Mohammed preached or practiced) stopped the bus, aiming to silence Malala, the most vocal advocate of the right of girls to be educated the same as boys.  With great international hue and cry, she was transported to the United Kingdom for treatment and survived.  At aged 15, she took the fame and ran with it, championing girls' education and opportunity for female success around the world.

Another over-achiever was Josiah Wedgwood, born on 12 July 1730.  He not only ran a successful ceramics company, he made it successful through innovation, creativity, customer focus and the development of cost accounting!  Wikipedia does not have his big contribution to managerial accounting, which included overhead and dedicated product costs, but it has been recognized by Neil McKendrick, whose article in The Economic History Review has been cited often.

 (Graphic brought to this writer's attention by Marcy Steindler, CPA)

17 May 2017

Do Americans Get Their Milk Drinking Lattes?

Heard on NPR: Americans are drinking 40% less cow's milk today than 40 years ago.  The average person drinks about 18 gallons/year and Archie Goodwin must have been drinking enough for about 10 of them.  For the Midwestern man's man then, suave ladies' man in his 30's, a cold glass of milk has been his go-to drink from the first Nero Wolfe book Fer-de-Lance, published in 1932.  There is no embarrassment on his part and actually, no heckling on the part of companions.  Of course, he also takes a shot of rye more often than not and has coffee at the end of breakfast to finish the morning paper.  But still, with breakfast along with lunch, dinner, snack, offerings to visitors as well as a pitcherful to take up to bed, milk (implied cow's milk) was Archie's drink of choice.

And now what do we have? Soy "milk." Almond "milk." Rice "milk."  As dairy producers complain, these are all named this way to give people a non-dairy choice while thinking they're still drinking milk.  Do Americans really think there's a machine squeezing almonds to get milk?  "Almond slurry," I agree, is much more to the point.  Producers of these non-dairy liquid products can always use the generic word "drink," which when used to describe a fruit-like orangey liquid evokes a factory making something which is 0.000001 part citrus, 2 parts sugar and 97.999999 parts water.  Almond "drink" doesn't sound far from that, especially since almost all of these -- soy, almond, rice, ... have added sugar.  That's what dairy milk is missing.  With the bans on "sugary drinks" becoming more fashionable, cow's milk with never added sugar may become popular again.  After all, can Americans really have their milk and drink it, too?